This past Tuesday, September 16 marked the start of Young
America’s Foundation’s Firing Up Freedom tour on college campuses
around the country.
As the first host of the tour, the Penn State
Young Americans for Freedom (YAF) chapter organized a lecture by
Kate Obenshain, a popular motivational speaker and author of
Divider in Chief, who spoke about violations of free
speech occurring on college campuses across the country and
challenged young conservatives to rise up to the task of engaging
in bold and fearless activism.
Not only did Penn State YAF host Kate Obenshain, but the chapter
also led the charge against the concept of free speech zones on
campus. On Penn State’s main campus, which measures 8,500 acres in
size, there are merely 12 free speech zones in which students may
distribute materials and speak freely.
On Wednesday, however, Penn State YAF challenged the notion that
at a public institution of higher education, students must be
herded into particular areas of campus in order to exercise their
constitutionally protected right to free speech. Not only this, the
chapter also revealed the university’s disregard for even its own
so-called free speech zones. While tabling on Constitution Day–that too, in front of the student
union building in a designated free speech zone–Penn State YAF
chapter leaders were confronted by university administrators, who
demanded that the students remove their table from the particular
When asked for an explanation behind the specific rules that
prohibited the students from setting up a table in the free speech
zone, the administrators could provide little clarification and
instead stated that if the students did not remove their table,
they would be forced to call police services.
By standing up to such violations of students’ 1st
Amendment rights on campus, Penn State YAF is successfully carrying
out its mission of defending individual freedom.
This is exactly what the Firing Up Freedom tour is
about-inspiring students on campus to fight for their rights.
The next host of the tour is University of Tennessee-Knoxville
YAF, whose leaders and members are ready to keep the momentum
going. Stay tuned for more news about overreaching campus
Raj Kannappan is the Program Officer for Young Americans for